Rings help joints

August 29, 1997

WEARING gold wedding rings can delay the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in the fingers, according to new research. A team from Birmingham University's rheumatology department took x-rays of the hands of 30 ring wearers and 25 non-ring wearers who had suffered from the joint-wasting disease for at least two years. They found that in ring wearers the knuckle joint of the ring finger was very often up to three times less badly eroded than the equivalent joint on the right hand. The middle-finger knuckle joints of ring wearers also tended to be less badly affected, through the disease had not spared other joints.

The researchers, whose work is published in the most recent Annals of the RheumaticDiseases journal, suggest the gold from the rings may have passed through the skin and into the local lymph glands, travelling "downstream" to the nearby knuckle joint insufficient quantities to delay erosion.

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